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Relative sharpness of Optar Illuminas compared to Zeiss, etc.?


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#1 Tyler Henry

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 03:22 PM

Hi -

I'm fairly new to film (ironically, transitioning from video), but I'm currently looking into getting a set of primes for my super16 Kinor SX-2M (PL mount).

The Optar Illuminas look great to me, and as I'm a happy Russian camera (+ zoom lens) owner, I have faith in an all-Russian rig.

I'm just wondering where the Illuminas fall in the scale of sharp to soft lenses.

I found this rundown of lens manufacturers on konvas.org:

"Sharpest, hardest, downward to warmer, softer-- In my use, only, spherical lenses--

Late Zeiss
Late Cooke
Fuji Cine
Rodenstock
Schneider
Later Leitz
Later Lomo
Canon Cine
Angenieux
earlier Zeiss
Cooke Speed Panchro
B&H
Earlier Leitz
earlier Lomo"

Ideally, I think I'd like to get something in the middle of the spectrum, for all purpose use - I don't want clinical, but I don't want gauzy. I've read that the Illuminas are comparable to the Zeiss superspeeds. But maybe that comparison is based on the T-stops and coverage rather than the warmth of the lens? Is there any quantifiable lens rating (i.e. lpmm?) that can give me a sense of the sharpness? And should I even be worried about this? (Although, when spending this many rubles, I will worry about whatever I can.)

I'm also wondering if anyone has followed up on the few seemingly half price deals on the net for Illumina sets (i.e. ~$7400). I read that these are bait and switch scams.
For instance:
http://xl1solutions...._are_the_fi.htm

Any advice is welcome. Thanks very much!

----
Lens list quoted from this page:
http://konvas.org/fa...ooke-other.html
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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 03:17 AM

What's your budget?

Optars are pretty comparable to Super Speeds, I've seen DPs use mixed sets of Optar/Zeiss. Super Speeds tend to be softer and less contrasty between T1.3 and T2.8 and sharpen up a lot when stopped down, so I imagine Optars are similar. From most expensive to cheapest, sorry I don't know exactly how much they cost:

The sharpest, most contrasty lenses for Super16 are the T.13 Zeiss Ultra16 primes. I think they cost something like $20,000 per lens!!

There are some very nice modern zooms out there made by Canon, 6.6-66mm, 11-138mm, etc.

The Canon 7-63mm is slightly older but still very sharp and contrasty, good close focus, low breathing. The Zeiss 12-120mm is also crisp and contrasty, cuts well with Super Speeds, but has a 5' close focus (3'6" with vignetting) and breathes like a mofo.

The Canon 8-64mm is older still, a bit soft and distorted on the wide end but with good close focus and low breathing, and pretty cheap these days.

I haven't used any Super16 Cooke zooms, but the 9-50mm is reputed to be very good. A bit soft in a good way, as Cookes are generally wont to be.

I'd say if possible, you should go to a rental house with your camera and ask to look at a bunch of lenses, maybe shoot some tests and see what you like. Call first and ask if it's okay, of course.
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